Review Summary: A captivating display of the absolute best musicianship around, this is an album where the two guitars twist in and out of a flawless drum performance to create sonic madness whilst Ross puts in the vocal performance of a lifetime.
Ever since their inception under the name of Rigor Mortis in 1986, New York death metal act Immolation has been an immovable titan of the scene. Their signature style of incredibly technical extreme metal music utilizes some fantastic atonal riffing, consistently murderous vocal performances from Ross Dolan and drumming that is almost second to none. Their barrage of brutal song-writing consistently scrapes the bottom of the barrel of quality to ensure that they have almost always delivered a Triple A performance with each installment in their blasphemous and socially aware career.
2010's outing for this legendary act is entitled Majesty And Decay, and may well be deserving of the title of best Immolation album. This is a release that has everything. It absolutely oozes atmospheric madness, whilst the riffs are arguably the pinnacle of charismatic and slightly insane guitarist Robert Vigna's time in the music industry. It has an untouchable amount of variety, from the faster paced tracks like The Purge to the slower and more deliberate numbers such as A Glorious Epoch. What this album does best, however, is its consistent heaviness. Every track of this album is as crushing as it gets, hitting the band's listeners like a steamroller with plentiful bludgeoning riffs and an abundance of creative and mesmerizing drum beats.
Every member of the band is on their A game with this release. Ross Dolan's vocals sound as though he has been swallowing gravel and razors for the last twenty years, reeking hatred and spewing bile across every one of these songs. Whilst the lyrical content has continued to evolve from their God-hating early works to more of a socially aware style on the newer albums, none of the malice is missing from the delivery. Meanwhile, the two guitarists weave in and out of one another with guitar lines that play off of one another to sonically recreate the agony and social decay the band's lyrics talk about. On A Token Of Malice the two guitarists really astonish, with a plethora of riffs that never cease to amaze.
Divine Code and A Glorious Epoch are possibly the most astounding creations the band have brought to the table on Majesty And Decay, really setting the bar at all new heights for their future works. The former hits like an artillery barrage with a truly killer drum performance from Steve Shalaty, who recognizes that not every song requires incessant blast beats to compliment the rest of the musical madness on display here. Meanwhile, the latter of the two is a song that jumps constantly between different tempos, from the groove-based mid-paced riffs to the tremolo picked section accompanied by blast beats. The way the two guitarists play off of one another whilst Ross delivers the lyrics is something to marvel at on this track.
Immolation's Majesty And Decay is a spectacular album from a band that has consistently shown themselves to be full of surprises. This takes their music to new peaks, with a collection of tracks that are among the finest in their career. This is an album I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys nothing but the absolute best death metal available.
-A Glorious Epoch